Aug. 28th, 2010

kaoniki: (Default)
It was an old memory, but very valuable.

Kaoniki is on the roof of a building, on the roof of a church. Her movements are as stealthy as a hunter in the woods.

She creeps closer and closer to the edge of the roof, and hangs by her legs with her head down toward the ground. She is next to a window, and there's a voice from inside. It's Prince Lafayette.

“And there went out another horse that was red; and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another; and there was given unto him a great sword.”

Revelations? This Kindred Word of Longinus is from the book of Revelations? If that's all it is then why won't he let me hear it?

"The True Church has a Holy Crusade, Brothers and Sisters; Crusade against Savages and Heathens! We are Faithful, we are Strong and we will stamp them out like worms ground underfoot!"

It had snowed that day, and her legs started to slip. She tried to pull herself up, but it was no use; she was overbalanced and gravity was not in her favor. She could hear pews creaking, the Mass was letting out.

She could let herself hit the ground and then merge with it, but what if someone heard? Martin had insisted this was a very bad idea...and he was inside with the rest of them. There was no way he'd be able to help her out of this mess. She could feel her legs slip even more.

Get me out of this...if only I could vanish...

And then she fell, but instead of hitting the ground, she soared into the air on leathery wings for the very first time.

Amazing...

She looked down and saw Jarvis walking along the side of the church over the exact spot she would have hit the ground.

Well, no. She didn’t really see him. She heard him, was hearing where he was. Heard him? How was that possible? Of course. The bats she’d ridden with saw with sound.

She hit a tree and then her small papery body fell into a pile of pine needles.

Ok, just launch.

But of course, she couldn’t launch from the ground, no matter how she tried. Bats were gliders, they needed height to start with.

Lovely. Now I shall have to climb this tree.

She flexed the claws at the bend in her wings. They weren’t much help moving her along the ground, so she added effort from the back set of claws.

Like a rabbit. Good Lord, I hope no one steps on me, and that I can actually climb a tree with such small claws. Go little bat-rabbit go. Ugh.

There was a wall of bark in front of her, and she saw that climbing wouldn’t be all that hard. Sure it was steep, but there were plenty of ridges in the bark to hold on to and she was light. She could hear all the ridges, and that was still very distracting to contemplate. She could smell insects living in the tree. Her eyes were nearly useless.

She made a mistake again and tried to pull with the wing claws.

Push, not pull. Horses rearing. Rabbit climbing a hill. Cat leaping.

This time it worked. She was using the back legs for power and the wing claws to keep from falling backwards off the tree. The climb went faster and easier than she had imagined it would.

There was another smell. A warm, powdery, dangerous smell. But there was no noise, so she continued concentrating on the climb.

She squeaked at the ground; was it far enough to drop into flight from? Close, but not quite. She squeaked up, and there it was…

Something large and soft above her in the tree. A creaking noise as its talons gripped the branch. A wave of instinctual fear.

An owl. He was so big. Why had she never noticed how big owls could be? Why wasn’t he fleeing from her Beast?

She squeaked again. A nest. A she-owl, then. She’d stumbled upon one of the few mundane creatures that would still attack her; a mother defending its young.

Amazing luck you have here, Little Raccoon. Wrong night, wrong tree.

The bat sighed. Three more inches would ensure safe launch, but getting any closer to the owl was too dangerous. Well, probably too dangerous for the owl and its young and not her…

She launched from where she was, hearing a warning screech from behind her. If she fell again, she would crawl to a different tree.

But she didn’t fall, her arms…no her wings, were holding her on top of the air. She started losing altitude…

Flap, idiot girl. It’s what wings are for.

She was surprised at first that the wings felt less powerful than the legs, but then she remembered that mundane bats slept while hanging from those legs. And she was realizing that she had to use them also to help change course.

She almost hit another tree again. She was forgetting to squeak to navigate, and she should probably get above the tree-line. Nothing in the air would bother her besides another shifted Gangrel, and none of those were her enemies.

I shall have to land. Land this time, not crash.

She looked around for a likely tree. Once she found one, she circled, thinking.

Hmmm. Use the wings to land and the feet to perch. Go for a branch. Expect to…well no. Expect nothing. Oh. Check for owls this time, little fool.

She squeaked at the tree. No owls. No other larger animals either. She tilted her wings downward aiming for a high branch.

How do I slow down?

She had to make a few passes; turning and gliding more than flapping worked for slowing down. The hind legs gripped the branch, and then she found herself unexpectedly upside down. It was strangely comfortable, far more so than hanging from the church roof had been in her human-shape.

Being a bat isn’t as easy as it looks. Going along with one is even easier than being one. Now I shall have to shift back…but it would be better to get on top of the branch.

She squeaked below her, and noticed another branch just below her. She let go of the branch she was clinging to, and dropped down to the next. This one was slightly wider. She had stretched herself parallel with the branch, lying along it instead of gripping it.

Now why is branch width important?

She concentrated on her human-shape, how it felt to have arms with no wing webbing on them, to have legs longer than her torso, to have an abundance of hair on top of her head.

She could feel her legs growing and her arms thickening. Her eyesight became much clearer and her hearing and sense of smell dulled. Her bones and teeth thickened and hair spilled down shoulders that had more restricted movement.

And then there was a sound like breaking wood.

Branch width. Damn it.

She was falling, but not for long. She caught a lower branch, pulling herself up to sit on it.

There was more thought involved in taking another form than she would have imagined…

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August 2012

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